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Cemetery Dance (Special Agent Pendergast Series #9)

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Overview

Pendergast--the world's most enigmatic FBI Special Agent--returns to New York City to investigate a murderous cult.

William Smithback, a New York Times reporter, and his wife Nora Kelly, a Museum of Natural History archaeologist, are brutally attacked in their apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Eyewitnesses claim, and the security camera confirms, that the assailant was their strange, sinister neighbor--a man who, by all reports, was already dead and buried weeks earlier....

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Cemetery Dance (Special Agent Pendergast Series #9)

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Overview

Pendergast--the world's most enigmatic FBI Special Agent--returns to New York City to investigate a murderous cult.

William Smithback, a New York Times reporter, and his wife Nora Kelly, a Museum of Natural History archaeologist, are brutally attacked in their apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Eyewitnesses claim, and the security camera confirms, that the assailant was their strange, sinister neighbor--a man who, by all reports, was already dead and buried weeks earlier. While Captain Laura Hayward leads the official investigation, Pendergast and Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta undertake their own private--and decidedly unorthodox--quest for the truth. Their serpentine journey takes them to an enclave of Manhattan they never imagined could exist: a secretive, reclusive cult of Obeah and vodou which no outsiders have ever survived.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Aloysius X. L. Pendergast is an FBI special agent as enigmatic as his name. In this case, the stylish sleuth grapples with a culprit even more singular than himself. A Museum of Natural History archaeologist and his wife have been savagely attacked in the Upper West Side apartment; the assailant, identified by eyewitnesses and a security camera, is someone believed on incontestable evidence to be dead. As the case proceeds, Pendergast, Detective Laura Hayward, and Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta begin to wonder whether they have a zombie monster on their hands!
From the Publisher
"[A] suspenseful tale of urban terror...this taut page-turner can only add to the authors' growing fan base."—Publishers Weekly

"A page-turner...plenty of action and a cast of truly odd characters...thoroughly enjoyable."—Times Record News

"A top-notch action packed, high-octane thriller that takes the reader on an incredible literary roller-coaster ride... enough unexpected plot twists and turns to satisfy even the most jaded reader. With narrow escapes galore...This book offers compelling, page-turning, tense suspense."—Lansing State Journal

From the Publisher
"[A] suspenseful tale of urban terror...this taut page-turner can only add to the authors' growing fan base."—Publishers Weekly

"A page-turner...plenty of action and a cast of truly odd characters...thoroughly enjoyable."—Times Record News

"A top-notch action packed, high-octane thriller that takes the reader on an incredible literary roller-coaster ride... enough unexpected plot twists and turns to satisfy even the most jaded reader. With narrow escapes galore...This book offers compelling, page-turning, tense suspense."—Lansing State Journal

Publishers Weekly

Bestsellers Preston and Child kill off a regular supporting character at the outset of this suspenseful tale of urban terror, their ninth to feature FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast (after The Wheel of Darkness). William Smithback, a New York Times reporter, and his wife, Nora Kelly, an anthropologist with the New York Museum of Natural History, are celebrating their first anniversary when Smithback is fatally stabbed in their Manhattan apartment, apparently by a creepy neighbor, Colin Fearing, an out-of-work British actor. Given eyewitness descriptions of the killer, including one from Kelly herself, as well as surveillance footage showing a blood-stained Fearing emerging from the apartment building right after the crime, the case appears to be open and shut-until Pendergast and his NYPD ally, Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, learn that Fearing died almost two weeks earlier. This taut page-turner can only add to the authors' growing fan base. 8-city author tour. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In his latest outing, Agent Pendergast (The Wheel of Darkness) and partner Lieutenant D'Agosta probe the murder of a reporter they both admired and considered a friend. The evidence appears to be a slam dunk because the perpetrator was seen by several people who knew him and appears on security camera footage holding a bloody knife right after the crime. The only problem-the man they are looking for was found floating in the Hudson River days before. When Pendergast heads to the morgue to examine the corpse, he discovers the body has disappeared. Blend in a secretive cult that believes in animal sacrifices and the possible reanimation of the dead, and the result is another winner from thriller masters Preston and Child, who specialize in a compelling story, intriguing characters, and the implausible becoming terrifyingly real. Even though Pendergast is prominent here, D'Agosta has a chance to shine as well. Another guaranteed hit that is highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09; see also the Q&A with Child in the Feb. 5 edition of LJ's BookSmack! e-newsletter at tinyurl.com/co4ng5.-Ed.]
—Jeff Ayers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455584420
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/25/2014
  • Series: Special Agent Pendergast Series , #9
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 98,469
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Preston
The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. Preston's acclaimed nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Biography

Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, MA, was raised in nearby Wellesley (where, by his own admission, he and his brothers were the scourge of the neighborhood!), and graduated from Pomona College in California with a degree in English literature.

Preston's first job was as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- an eight year stint that led to the publication of his first book, Dinosaurs in the Attic and introduced him to his future writing partner, Lincoln Child, then working as an editor at St. Martin's Press. The two men bonded, as they worked closely together on the book. As the project neared completion, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the museum, an excursion that proved fateful. As Preston tells it, "...in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to [me] and said: 'This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!'" Their first collaborative effort, Relic, would not be published until 1995, by which time Preston had picked up stakes and moved to Santa Fe to pursue a full-time writing career.

In addition to writing novels (The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon) and nonfiction books on the American Southwest (Cities of Gold, Ribbons of Time), Preston has collaborated with Lincoln Child on several post-Relic thrillers. While not strictly a series, the books share characters and events, and the stories all take place in the same universe. The authors refer to this phenomenon as "The Preston-Child Pangea."

Preston divides his time between New Mexico and Maine, while Child lives in New Jersey -- a situation that necessitates a lot of long-distance communication. But their partnership (facilitated by phone, fax, and email) is remarkably productive and thoroughly egalitarian: They shape their plots through a series of discussions; Child sends an outline of a set of chapters; Preston writes the first draft of those chapters, which is subsequently rewritten by Child; and in this way the novel is edited back and forth until both authors are happy. They attribute the relatively seamless surface of their books to the fact that "[a]ll four hands have found their way into practically every sentence, at one time or another."

In between, Preston remains busy. He is a regular contributor to magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Natural History, Smithsonian, Harper's, and Travel & Leisure, and he continues with varied solo literary projects. Which is not to say his partnership with Lincoln Child is over. Fans of the bestselling Preston-Child thrillers can be assured there are bigger and better adventures to come.

Good To Know

Douglas Preston counts among his ancestors the poet Emily Dickinson, the newspaperman Horace Greeley, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough.

His brother is Richard Preston, the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Cobra Event, The Wild Trees, and other novels and nonfiction narratives.

Preston is an expert horseman and a member of the Long Riders Guild.

He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow, has traveled extensively around the world, and contributes archaeological articles to many magazines.

In our interview, Preston shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.

"My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later."

"I need to write in a small room -- the smaller the better. I can't write in a big room where someone might sneak up behind my back."

"My hobbies are mountain biking, horseback riding and packing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, camping, cooking, and skiing."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 295 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(138)

4 Star

(76)

3 Star

(38)

2 Star

(24)

1 Star

(19)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 297 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What a Roller Coaster Ride of Pure Fun

    I was just stunned when Bill Smithback was brutally murdered in chapter one. Bill was in Thunderhead along with Nora Kelly which happens to be my favorite of all books. So I was in tears when he was killed. I liked Bill who was funny, kind, loved Nora, an unlikely hero, and a reported who just bummbled into a newspaper story. Preston and Child are good at characterizations and make you feel like you know the character personally..

    The plot is about a voodoo cult who sacrifice animals in the name of their beliefs. There is a zombie on the loose murdering people connected to a society to protect animals from ritual killings. The scenes where the animals are sacrificed are heart wretching. There is also a creepy underground tunnel that chilled me to the core. I was glued to this chair until I finished those chapters.

    D'Agosta is assigned to solve Smithback's murder. Pendergast gets involved in the case because he was Smithback's friend also. They begin to slowly research and piece the crimes and evidence together. The plot is not slow and just takes off like a roller coaster ride.

    The evil person is just as intelligent and cunning as Pendergast which makes the final chapters exciting and thrilling. It is like Sherlock Holmes versus Professor Moriarty with Pendergast as Holmes of course.

    The end is clever, witty, and very creative. I have to say I rather loved the epilogue. I can't give anything way here so I will say it was a beautiful way to say good-bye to Smithback.

    Well written and an exciting plot. If you have not read Thunderhead, you have to read it. That is Bill Smithback and Nora Kelly's story. This book is one of Preston and Child's best books.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a great taut tale

    In Manhattan, New York Times William Smithback and his wife Museum of Natural History anthropologist Nora Kelly arrive home after celebrating their first anniversary with plans to do more rejoicing. Instead they are attacked in their apartment building by a neighbor, out of work British actor Colin Fearing. To the horror of Kelly; her beloved spouse is killed during the assault while his crazed killer leaves.----------------

    NYPD obtains testimony from Nora and others who saw Fearing murder Smithback and the building's surveillance tape captures Fearing leaving dripping blood everywhere. The case is solved except for one problem as FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast and New York Police Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta learn; Fearing died two weeks ago having been found in the Hudson River.--------------------

    Fans will be stunned with the opening sequence when long time secondary character Smithback is killed. That just sets the table for a great tense police thriller as Agent Pendergast investigates how could a dead man commit murder? The above paragraphs are the beginning of a great taut tale that fans will appreciate and newcomers will look for Aloysius' back cases (see THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS).----------------------

    Harriet Klausner

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    Cemetery Dance

    What a disappointment! I have read all the 8 books Preston & Child have written and enjoyed them thoroughly. But not this one. It is a total bore. In fact, half way through, I have given up. I closed the book and will donate it to a book fair. Foolishsly, I purchased two signed copies months before publication. Rick Whitaker

    3 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    Great!!

    First of all, fauvemistral should have checked their spelling before posting. It's hard to get your scathing point across when you can't spell. Anyway, great book, as usual! Love this series!! Don't hesitate to buy!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another SOLID Pendergast offering from these brilliant authors!

    Despite what some critics here say, this one will NOT disappoint true Preston-Child fans. I could not put this one down! Ok, the zombie angle may be schmaltzy, but it is ALL EXPLAINED in the end. I could not BELIEVE they had Smithback killed in this - I will miss him terribly like an old friend in real life. The authors are THAT good. Pendergast and D'agosta make one of the best sleuthing teams in literary history, in my opinion, and this one lives up to expectations. The book has a few moments where I had to put it down and shrieked out loud. These guys know how to write! I highly recommend this to readers; however, you may want to read their earlier books to know the characters first. R.I.P. William Smithback - your fans will miss you more than we can say. Preston & Child - congratulations on a FINE offering.. Keep up the fantastic work!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

    Not one of the better Preston Child books

    First let me say that I am a Preston Child fan, having read all their books. "Cemetery Dance", unfortunately, is not one of their better efforts. The plot, even for them, is not believable, and once the solution to the mystey has been revealed,not really very well conceived. The bad guys and support characters are stereotypical and are borrowed from TV detective shows. Many scenes of this book appear to have been based on a few 1970's Columbo episodes. Bill Smithback always was a character one could rely on for comic relief and has been a solid fixture in the Preston Child series, and its too bad he was "written off" in such a sub par story. Perhaps it is time Preston and Child to step away from this series for a year or two and concentrate on an independent, more creative, and well developed story line.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gotta Love Pendergast!

    I absolutely LOVE these books and am SO excited there is a new one out!! I LOVE Aloysius Pendergast and am going out to get this wonderful book TOMO an B&N! Thank the gods for Preston and Child!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Yet another book by writers who have no understanding of Caribbean culture

    It remains amazing that so many "educated" persons still do not get that Obeah is a Jamaican cultural form while Voodoo is Haitian. There is NO correaltion beyond the fact that both had African slavery origins. Voodoo is actually linked with Catholicism and has a very structured system of gods. Obeah is linked to the spiritual world in that it provides protection for its belivers against evil forces through work of the practioners. Practioners provide believers with protection charms and there is sometimes use of bible verses. I would recommend that non-Caribbean people, who do NOT understand the difference and who are not willing to do the work to research their subjects thoroughly, really ought NOT to write about things they do not undertand.

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    We haven't actually read the book yet, but anticipate that it will be awesome. Nobody's better than Pendergast!

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Pendergast is back in the Big Apple

    Perhaps my favorite setting for Pendergast, I always learn more about the nooks and crannys of the big city. All the usual characters are here, with a fast and furious plot building to a big finish. This series is not the best choice for the late night read, not if you plan on getting a full night's sleep!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I love Preston & Child!

    Special Agent Pendergast - a character sooooo smooth that ya gotta love the guy - quirks, over the top intelligence, wealth, logical and all that good stuff. I can only say, with the Pendergast series, I always have to remind myself to breathe when I get to the last 100 pages of any of the books. Very intense - I'm always exhausted after I finish the books. I've read all 9 - ready for the next. I strongly suggest that if you haven't read the series yet to start with Relic and worth your way through - a great read, all of them....and I DID mention intense, right?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    absoulutly great

    I cannot say enough about how pleased I am to have found this series.I love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    Another Pendergast tale- good for those who are not superstitious

    If you like this series, this book is a must as it ties up many 'loose ends' from the previous storyline... However, people who are easily made squeamish by supernatural references may not enjoy the major plot

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

    The best Pendergast yet!

    I was surprised to find that when I read this, which I did alone before listening to it on CD with someone else in the car, I was actually scared in a couple of places! The last time any book actually scared me was Preston and Child's Still Life with Crows, and that was only once when someone popped up at a window unexpectedly. I am a veteran of many vampire and other horror novels. and this is the best zombie novel ever, only rivaled by the more voodoo-y The Red of His Shadow, which I recommend. It has it all over the "28 days' type zombie stories in that there is a bizarre religion involved in the creation and support of the zombie population, as opposed to some virus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    The Best Yet

    This is the best in my opinion since Still Life With Crows. Keep them coming~

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Like all Pendergast books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, this is a good one. Hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Willow

    Hi hows everyone?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Jacob

    Is on-jacob*-*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Ally

    So r u two the only ones on right now?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Kb

    Me too

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 297 Customer Reviews

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